Vukosa shocks Cusumano to capture WBC USNBC title
Ortiz retains WBC Youth championship with impressive win over Couture in co-main event
Lincoln, RI (Aug. 9, 2019) – Quincy, MA, heavyweight Steve Vukosa (12-1) pulled off the upset Friday at Twin River Casino Hotel, defeating Juiseppe Cusumano (18-3) by unanimous decision to capture the vacant WBC USNBC Title.
The slick southpaw used his elusive head movement and footwork to frustrate the heavy-handed Cusumano, scoring a shocking knockdown in the third round that all but secured the fight on the scorecards despite a late rally by Cusumano down the stretch. Judges Martha Tremblay and Eddie Scuncio scored it 76-75 while Steve Smoger saw it 77-74 in favor of the 42-year-old Vukosa.
Cusumano, who had won three in a row and 16 of 17, lost for the first time since June of 2018. Vukosa, “The Gentle Giant,” just came out of retirement in July, ending a five-year layoff with a win over Justin Rolfe in New Hampshire. He was also inactive for a 12-year stretch between 2002 and 2014, returning to the ring at the age of 37 to upset former U.S. Olympian and Providence, RI, native Jason Estrada.
Cusumano looked sharp in the first two rounds, but ran into a right cross that sent him tumbling to the canvas late in the third round. Vukosa poured it on in the closing seconds, but ran out of time, allowing Cusumano to regain his composure heading into the middle portion of the fight. It appeared Cusumano had momentum in his favor again until the seventh round when Vukosa – now in a comfort zone – cracked Cusumano with five clean left hands, using his awkward southpaw style to take control of the fight.
In the co-main event, Worcester, MA, lightweight Jamaine Ortiz (12-0) put on a performance that lived up to his nickname, “The Technician,” outworking durable, but overmatched, French challenger Romain Couture (8-2-1) by an 80-72 verdict on all three scorecards to retain his WBC Youth World Title.
Ortiz’s angles were too much for Couture to overcome as he remained a step or two ahead of his opponent throughout the fight. Couture never closed the gap in speed and Ortiz eventually began toying with him in the later rounds, landing at will despite Couture’s attempts to defend himself. Ortiz was so fast he kept finding the small windows in Couture’s defense to land the jab effectively and counter on the inside with uppercuts.
Six months after winning the WBC title with a near-flawless performance against Ricardo Quiroz in February, Ortiz arguably looked as sharp as ever in his first title defense and remains one of New England’s top pound-for-pound prospects.
In undercard action, Pawtucket, RI featherweight Ricky De Los Santos (9-0) remained unbeaten with a thrilling, 59-53, 59-53, 60-52, unanimous decision win over Reading, PA, challenger Yeuri Andujar (4-2-1) and Lancaster, PA, welterweight Evincii Dixon (9-23-2) stunned Marqus Bates (7-3), stopping the Taunton, MA, native at the 3:00-mark of the third round to halt Bates’ five-fight win streak.
East Providence, RI, super lightweight Elijah Peixoto (2-0) stole the show on the preliminary card with a thorough, 40-35, unanimous decision win on all three scorecards against previously-unbeaten Tampa, FL, native Carlos Otero (2-1). Worcester, MA, native Nicholas Briggs (5-0) remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision win over Bryan Goldsby (5-14) and Providence, RI, super welterweight Victor Reynoso (5-0, 5 KOs) stopped Canadian Kenny Chery (2-3) at 2:52 of the third for his fifth consecutive knockout win in as many fights.
Providence, RI, lightweight Michael Valentin (6-0-1) and Philadelphia, PA, vet Lonnie Jackson Jr. (4-1-2) fought to a majority draw with Smoger ruling it 59-55 in favor of Valentin and Scuncio and Joe Paolino scoring it 57-57. Providence super welterweight Lamont Powell (5-0) cruised past Ricardo Garcia (14-8-1) of Reading to win by a 40-36 score on all three cards.
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Michael Parente, CES MMA, 401-263-4990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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